Rules for buying during coronavirus pandemic

How to stock up on items without leaving shelves empty

State leaders are urging the public not to panic and not to empty the shelves.

The coronavirus pandemic has led many companies to call for employees to work from home. As such, people raced to the grocery store to stock up on items, unsure of how long they’ll be confined to their homes. The action has led to panic-buying.

However, doing so resulted in many empty shelves, mostly devoid of toilet paper and cleaning products.

» RELATED: Some store shelves quickly empty but experts say it's short term

As the virus continues to keep people at home, here are some rules for when you have to make your next shopping trip.

What to stock up on

For your pantry, Alyssa Pike, registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council told CNN people should stock up on the following:

  • beans and legumes
  • steel-cut oats
  • canned fish
  • nut butters
  • Brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat and bean pastas
  • high-fiber cereal
  • dried fruit, popcorn and chocolate
  • canned, sugar-free vegetables
  • water, shelf-stable milk and coffee

When stocking your freezer, Pike recommends filling it with these items:

  • bread
  • deli meat
  • fresh seafood
  • more fruits and vegetables

» RELATED: Panic-buying a natural reaction to uncertainty, behavioral experts say

Don’t hoard items

"In a crisis, people are desperate for action," Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, previously told the AJC of panic-buying. "We can't tell people that this is going to be terrible and then tell them to do nothing."

It may not surprise Ariely, but panic-buying has resulted in grocers around the country racing to restock shelves.

At a news conference Sunday evening, President Donald Trump spoke against panic-buying after he said grocery firms urged him to communicate the message to consumers.

"You don't have to buy so much," Politico reported he said. "There's no need for anybody in the country to hoard essential food supplies."

Days before then, Gov. Brian Kemp urged residents to "remain calm" while speaking to 11 Alive. "Save a loaf of bread for your neighbor, We are not going to cut off the supply chain."

» RELATED: 5 ways to help others during coronavirus outbreak

Special shopping hours for older adults

Panic-shopping has led some grocery stores to institute special shopping hours for older adults to be able to access the items they need to stock their homes.

CBS News reported chains launching these hours include the Dollar General, H.E.B., Foodtown and Stop and Shop. The stores are blocking off periods during the morning hours for adults at least age 60 or older to shop.